One day you are walking into a commercial building or office space to meet a client and your mind is all lost because you are thinking a lot about your business. Entrepreneurs think a lot about their businesses anywhere. When you get into the lift you realize that standing next to you is a prominent entrepreneur whom you have always wanted to meet. Somebody you always thought would invest in your startup. An investor and a role model. You say hi to this mentor hoping he will answer you and sure as hell he does. Back in your mind you know that your business needs a big investment to reach its goals. That one person who can help is finally in the elevator with you and you don’t know what to do. Your mind is racing fast because you are not sure what to say to get him interested in your business. Then, while you are stuck somewhere between planet Mars and Earth, you hear his voice. He asks a question. And it goes like this, “So what’s your company about?”
That question hits you so hard and your eyes begin to change color. All of a sudden you are sweaty and shaky. You are staring at the elevator buttons but see nothing. Time is running out, it’s now 15 seconds since the billionaire guy asked you a question. Right there and then, you want to just disappear because it dawns on you that you have at least 30 seconds before the elevator stops and your would-be greatest day ever disappears into thin air. Realizing that time is not on your side you start blubbering a whole load of sentences and complex lines of science, programming and who knows what else but by the time you are done, the elevator has come to a halt and your would-be business partner and investor is walking out. All he says is “best of luck with your product.”
This is the worst day of your life, because you watched your dream fly out through an elevator… yet you were this close. Very close. How sad?! Whichever way you look at it, you lost it. You don’t know what your company is about. Simple. If you knew, you would be able to tell him about it in 30 seconds and in less than 100 extremely simple words. You know what he would have said? “Tell me more.” But he didn’t. You know what you lacked? You lacked a perfect elevator pitch.
How do you avoid this problem next time. Never say never. Someday you might meet him again, or even some other investor and this time around you should have your perfect elevator pitch ready and set to be heard. But how do you create a great elevator pitch that will get investors interested in your business?
1. Know your business and it’s purpose
Knowing your business in and out is the best thing you could ever do. Knowing why the business was born and what it does is the most excellent thing you could ever do. These two aspects of your business will ensure that you can have even the most sketchy elevator pitch for a start. When you know this, it’s very easy to make that perfect pitch. Understanding your business’ purpose, vision and mission as well as the market is the first step to creating a simple-to-understand elevator pitch. Once you know this, in 300 words, answer this question: What is your company about?
Revise that 300 word statement until it gives exactly what your business is about and it’s purpose.
Why did you create this business? Why is your business idea better than what exists? Why? Why? and more Whys? You should be able to answer the ‘why question.’ Telling us why your business was created and why you think it is a better idea will be good for the final elevator pitch. Once you have answered those why questions correctly, go back to the 300 word elevator pitch you wrote in step one. Read through it. Did you get the why question answered there? If you didn’t, fix it.
3. Why would a customer choose you over the competition?
This is another why. But it is probably the second most important Why question after the ‘why did you create this business’ question. You can be 100 percent assured that the person looking to invest in your business will ask this question. Go back to your 300 word pitch and check if you answered this question. If you didn’t, fix it.
4. Use more questions to make the pitch better
You could have a question inside your pitch.Then answer that question, it makes things easier for you.
5. Write, write, and write again, every time make it shorter and better
If you met an investor in an elevator like I described earlier, you have at most 30 to 45 seconds to pitch your startup to them. What you want to do with the 300 word elevator pitch is to revise it and revise it until it’s less than 100 words. That should be a killer statement. The things you want to have in less than 100 words are these:
- A little background information about what inspired you to come up with your business idea. This should be around 15 words.
- Some information on the problem your company intends to solve. This should be around 15 words.
- How your company is solving the problem. This should be around 25 words.
- What is the future of this market? In 15 words say where you see the market in the next 10 years.
- Where will your company be in the future of this market in 10 years? In 15 words say how your company will be impacting the market in 10 years keeping in mind your predicted future of this market.
There you have 85 words, split into 5 simple sentences. It is the length of a perfect 30-second pitch. Rehearse this pitch as much as you can because this is the most important one. When you finally meet an investor, present your pitch and don’t make it look rehearsed. Stay calm and you should be fine. Remember this:
6. Simple, Compelling, and Objective is better
Anyone can make simple things seem complicated. The real art is in making complex things simple, objective and compelling enough. Let your pitch be simple, don’t go into complex scientific terms and programming languages. Keep it Simple Stupid.
How do you know if your elevator pitch is successful?
Go to the office or get some random person and tell them what your business is about then wait for their reaction:
- Do they get hooked?
- Do they say “Tell me more?”
- Do they continue listening to you without interrupting?
If the answers to these questions are “yes” then be sure that your pitch is good to go. Keep the 300 words pitch in mind because if they get hooked, they will begin to ask questions to find out more about the product and the market. You being that genius startup founder, you should be knowledgeable enough to bring all the other important points you left out in the 30-second elevator pitch when this happens.
What other tips do you have on creating the best elevator pitch? Let us know in the comments section below.